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Hidden away in the Trotternish Peninsula on the Isle of Skye lies the magical Fairy Glen Scotland. A mystical place that looks like it’s borne of legends and fairytales.
Here you’ll find lush craggy landscapes, ruined fairy castles, rowan trees and even a stone circle labyrinth where you can make a wish to the Fae!
It’s somewhere people often skip on the Isle of Skye but I would highly recommend you don’t.
I’ve been a couple of times now and it never ceases to amaze me. Make sure that you plan a visit to this breathtaking place on your itinerary.
Here is a complete guide for how to visit the Fairy Glen Scotland which is a storybook location on the Isle of Skye!
What is the Fairy Glen Scotland?
The Fairy Glen on the Isle of Skye is a unique emerald valley with a distinct dramatic landscape that looks like it has been pulled out of the pages of a fairytale.
If you didn’t know, ‘glen’ or ‘gleann’ means ‘narrow valley’ in Gaelic and the name is given to any valley that is long, narrow, U-shaped, and glacially concave.
The Fairy Glen Skye isn’t just any glen, however. It is quite unique and gets its bizarre shape from the last Ice Age here in Scotland similar to the Quairing or the Old Man of Storr.
Today, it has gained the curious name of the Fairy Glen as it has a magical and otherworldly feel to it.
There are lochand ponds, hills, ruined castle towers, rowan tree crops and a labyrinth which makes truly it a magical place to visit on the Isle of Syke!
Why is it called the Fairy Glen?
Believe it or not, despite Scotland being rife with tales of the Fae and Fairy Hills all over the country – the Fairy Glen Skye has no such legends associated with it.
It is surprising as Skye has a long association with the Fairies. The most popular legend is the Fairy Flag of Dunvegan Castle & Gardens.
No one knows how it got the nickname of the Fairy Glen but this unique landscape certainly does have a mystical feel to it.
Fairy Glen Skye history
Although we know this place as the Fairy Glen nowadays, its thought that this unique landscape was formed over 10,000 years ago in the last Ice Age similar to the Quirang.
The distinctive hills here were naturally formed by a series of landslides and glacial ice melting which created the landscape we see today.
The ruined tower at the site has been called Castle Ewan, otherwise known as the Fairy Castle which you can climb on top of.
But, there is no association with Clan McEwan or Clan Ewan of Otter. It’s a bit of a mystery really and there is no recorded history about it!
Was it even a castle once upon a time? I guess we’ll never know! But, people sure like to explore.
Today, although no one knows where this storybook location gets its name, it is called the Fairy Glen and is a popular place with tourists on the Trotternish Peninsula.
How to visit the Fairy Glen Scotland
The Fairy Glen Scotland is located on the magical Isle of Skye which is accessible over the Skye Bridge in the Kyle of Lochalsh region. This is on the Western Isles of Scotland.
You’ll need to head all the way up towards Uig which is the uppermost harbour town on the East side of the island. This is around 15 miles or a 20-minute drive from Portree.
The Fairy Glen is hidden in the Uig Hills of the Trotternish Peninsula. As you’re driving towards Uig, you’ll eventually see a turn-off on your right for Siadar (Sheadar) and Baile Nan Cnoc (Balnaknock).
Make a right turn and follow the Sheadar Road all the way down. This is a single lane with passing places so take your time and drive with consideration.
Eventually, you’ll reach the Fairy Glen car park where you can park up for the walk over to the Fairy Glen!
If you’re not driving, you can easily walk to the Fairy Glen from Uig in 30 minutes. CityLink buses run from Glasgow to Uig daily in summer. Click here to plan your journey with Traveline Scotland.
Fairy Glen Scotland postcode is Uig, IV51 9YG. Click here for a Google Pin!
Fairy Glen Skye parking
As soon as you reach the Trotternish Peninsula, there is a dedicated Fairy Glen car park you can use to park up for the walk.
This is chargeable between 8 am and 8 pm and there is a 12-hour maximum stay. Coins and contactless card payments are both accepted as payment methods.
The Fairy Glen parking charges are £2 for 2 hours and £3 for up to 4 hours. I would say you only need around an hour or two for your visit so £2 should be enough.
It’s good to know that this car park can get very busy especially in the summer and on weekends. So, I would plan your visit around peak times (11 am – 5 pm) if you can.
There is alternative parking on the side of the road leading towards the glen, this is still chargeable.
Motorhomes or camper vans are not permitted to park at the Fairy Glen overnight. But, there are alternative parking spaces nearby if you continue past the car park on the main road through.
Fairy Glen Scotland opening times and prices
The Fairy Glen is open 24 hours a day and so you can visit anytime that you’re visiting the Isle of Skye.
If you’re visiting in the summer as I did, sunset is around 11 pm and it’s an amazing time to go as all the crowds will have gone home.
However, In the dark, it may not be much fun as there is no artificial lighting. But, it’s great for star gazing.
The Fairy Glen is also completely FREE to visit. You just have to pay for parking.
How long does it take to walk to the Fairy Glen in Scotland?
From the Fairy Glen car park, the walk to the magical Fairy Glen Skye should take you no longer than 10-15 minutes.
The path will take you on a series of dips through the craggy landscape, crossing the main road and then up a steep hill by a lochan (small pond) to the Fairy Glen itself.
Although it’s a short and relatively easy hike, I would recommend having a good pair of ankle-supporting shoes with you.
The trail can be quite muddy if there have been heavy rains, even in summer, and you’ll also want to climb on the ruins of Castle Ewen which requires some sturdy footwear.
Fairy Glen walking directions
The Fairy Glen car park is around a 5-10 minute walk away from the main part of the glen itself and it’s not always straightforward to locate it.
But, the main thing to keep in mind is you’re heading towards the ruined fairy castle tower of Castle Ewen.
Here are some directions for the Fairy Glen Walk;
1. Starting out at the Fairy Glen car park, climb the hillside at the back of the car park itself
2. Keep following this path until you reach the main road
3. Cross over the main road when you see the crop of Rowan Trees and follow the path ahead
4. You’ll eventually see a small pond (lochan) and a path that curves around and leads up the hillside
5. Walk up this steep path and you’ll eventually reach the Fairy Glen!
Things to do at the Fairy Glen Skye
Despite it being quite a small place there are plenty of magical things to do at the Fairy Glen Scotland that make it worth a visit.
Make sure to plan at least 1-2 hours here to make the most of your visit on the Isle of Skye!
1. Explore the Fairy Glen
So, the first thing you must do is admire and explore the Fairy Glen. There are plenty of hills that you can climb up around the area to get a better perspective.
My personal favourite location is the small hillside opposite Castle Ewen. This is one of the best photography locations for photos.
You can walk up and down many hills here to see the incredible views and the labyrinth below. You may be lucky enough to spot some waterfalls in the distance!
2. Climb up the ruined Castle Ewen
After you’ve explored the Fairy Glen, you must make a visit up to the top of Castle Ewen. This is a ruined castle tower otherwise known as the Fairy Castle.
The pathways leading up to Castle Ewen may be pretty slippy so make sure to watch your step as you go.
Depending on how busy it is on your visit, you may need to wait for others to climb down before you head up. But, it is so worth it for the views you get from here.
3. Make a wish in the Fairy Glen labyrinth
After you’ve climbed back down from Castle Ewen, you really cannot leave without making a wish at the Fairy Glen labyrinth.
Legend has it that if you follow the labyrinth correctly, you can call on the Fae and make a wish.
You’re meant to pick a piece of grass from the outside, and enter the labyrinth following it to the centre clockwise.
Once you’ve got to the centre of the labyrinth, place your leaf/grass down and make your wish.
Then put a hand behind your back and walk backwards, anti-clockwise out of the labyrinth. Then, see how long it takes for the fairies to make your wish come true!
4. Take an extended Fairy Glen walk
After you’ve explored the main area of the Fairy Glen Skye, there are plenty of places you could extend your walk.
The entire area is open to exploring and there are plenty of magical ponds called lochands, hills and pathways to explore.
5. Explore the magical Rowan Trees!
I loved exploring the wee crop of Rowan trees that grow around the Fairy Glen! These are also known as Delight of the Eye, tree of the Goddess or The Wizard Tree.
Did you know that Rowan trees are often associated with faeries? Its wood was meant to be an antidote against them.
In Scottish and British folklore, it is said that the Rowan tree would protect you against enchantments, witchcraft and the ‘Evil Eye’.
For a place that doesn’t have any legends about faeries, I can’t help but think this isn’t a mere coincidence! What do you think?
Responsible travel at the Fairy Glen
You may see some signs around the Fairy Glen about protecting the site. There is a labyrinth here that often sees stones being placed around it.
But, this is bad for the landscape and it prevents wildlife from grazing in the area. So, they politely ask that you don’t place stones here.
Although it looks pretty and adds to the magic, it’s always best to respect the Scottish Access Code and leave the landscape be. We want to protect it for years to come!
My top tips for visiting the Fairy Glen Skye
- Bring Midge repellent – Skye is known for pesky midges. If there is no wind here in the warmer months make sure you have some repellent like Smidge.
- Toilets – There are no toilets at the Fairy Glen. The closest public toilets are in Uig Harbour just a few minute’s drive away. These are free to use.
- Pack water and snacks – There is no café at the Fairy Glen. The nearest facilities are in Uig, I loved the Skye’s the Limit tearoom personally. If you’d rather, I would bring water and snacks with you.
- Wear good shoes – This trail to the Fairy Glen can be very mucky if it’s been raining. Wear a good pair of shoes, boots or wellies. This is also important to climb Castle Ewen as it’s a rough, steep terrain.
- Protect the land – Visit responsibly. Take litter home with you, don’t disturb wildlife, don’t start fires and don’t place stones at the circle.
- Watch your steps – some of the climbs, especially up to Castle Ewen are very steep with drops. Take care and climb carefully.
Fairy Glen FAQs
- Where is the Fairy Glen in Scotland? The Fairy Glen is on the Isle of Skye in the hills of Uig. It can be found in the Trotternish Peninsula.
- When is the best time to visit the Fairy Glen? I would say early in the morning or late in the evening around sunset. I can get very busy during the day, especially in peak season! If you visit in summer as I did it can still be light even at 11 pm!
- Is the Fairy Glen Dog Friendly? Yes, it is, just make sure to keep them on a lead as there is wildlife around.
- How was the Fairy Glen formed? The Fairy Glen was formed thousands of years ago in the Ice Age. It was created by a series of landslides similar to the Quairing nearby.
- Is the Fairy Glen natural? Yes, all the hill formations around the Fairy Glen were naturally formed from ice glaciers melting.
Where to next on the Isle of Skye?
At the Fairy Glen Skye, you’re near the port town of Uig where you can catch a CalMac Ferry to the Isles of Lewis & Harris with the famous Callanish Standing Stones.
You can also add on a trip to the Quiraing where you can see these dramatic landscapes at a larger scale. You can visit a viewpoint or take a hike to it.
Kilt Rock is worth a visit to see the waterfall over the clifftop and you can also hike up to the Old Man of Storr in this area. It’s a tough hike but worth it for the views!
The Isle of Skye is also full of magical ‘fairy’ attractions like the Fairy Pools which is one of my all-time favourite hikes.
Here, you can visit magical crystal clear pools with waterfalls overlooking a backdrop of the mountains. It’s a great place for wild swimming.
You can also visit the colourful houses in the harbour of Portree and explore Dunvegan Castle & Gardens.
Or, why not head to the uppermost edges of Skye by visiting Neist Point?! It’s a Lighthouse walk with spectacular views. There are so many mystical places to visit on this spectacular island.
Don’t forget there are many magical attractions near Skye in the Kyle of Lochalsh like Eilean Donan Castle and Plockton. The best view of Eilean Donan Castle is from the Carr Brae Viewpoint.
Also, you must visit the hidden gem of Manuela’s Wee Bakery!